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My credit card is NOT safe!

January 6, 2015

In today’s world there are two kinds of credit cards:  One is credit cards that have not been hacked “yet” and the other is credit cards that have “already” been hacked.  Ask yourself “Which party do I fit into?”  You assume you know the answer to this question.  But do you really?  Do you think that Home Depot knew the answer to that question just hours or minutes before they found out about their data breach?  Do you think that the US Military knew they were getting hacked just after it started?  What about Target?

Consider this. In October of 2014, FBI Director James Cook said, “China Has Hacked Every Big US Company,” http://www.businessinsider.com/fbi-director-china-has-hacked-every-big-us-company-2014-10.  That means if I do business with my credit card, the likelihood of my card’s information remaining safe is virtually zero.  Many people try to outsmart the thieves by using reloadable debit cards which may keep your information safe a little longer but in the end, odds are that your credit card is not safe.  In January 2014 alone, these cyber terrorists stole 40 million credit cards from Target.  2.6 million credit cards were stolen from Michaels, and 9,000 was stolen from Neiman Marcus.  By the time most thefts are realized, the compromised accounts reach into the millions.

There is a false sense that regulation and security auditing will help keep credit card information safe.  Yet somehow companies continue to be compromised.  In September 2014, 56 million credit cards were compromised from Home Depot and almost a million from Goodwill Industries Retail Division.

The bottom line is that my credit card information is not safe, and neither is yours.

Rest assured that at any moment, you can be a victim of credit card theft.   In my next article I will go through some best practices that can possibly help reduce the risks associated with stolen credit card information.  Until then, remain diligent by reviewing your statements and by keeping track of dates and places your credit cards are used.

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From my chair…

October 1, 2011

We all tend to see things from our own perspective. I stumbled across two people in a heated debate the other day and was mildly amused by their earnest efforts to “prove” their respective points. Each person seemed to talk more loudly than the other, and each retaliatory comment further secured the position that both held on to with clenched fists.

I sat there wondering how it is that we can relate so well to some people, some of the time, and then there are times we simply miss what the other person is trying to say all together. Not really that one side is right and the other is wrong, my point is that we simply don’t do a good job conveying our ideas or opinions to those around us. And that often leads to controversy. This happens with family, friends, churches, politics, and yes; this also happens at work.

Let’s say you are on a sales call and you have worked diligently on putting together a solution that fits every need a potential customer has.  You are the expert. You know that there is no way for them to have a better solution, short of you selling it to them. After all, you have their best interest at heart. You have put hours into making sure that your solution is both profitable, and solid. Yet somehow, after presenting this golden nugget to your customer, they seem to be mildly amused at best.

What is your take away from that sales call? What could they have possibly not understood about your wonderfully flawless solution? Were they not smart enough to see that your solution was simply wowing? Was money the issue? Maybe it was a timing thing.

The ultimate goal of any great sales person or consultant is to understand how to communicate effectively. I do not subscribe to the old adage that a product or service simply sells itself. In every scenario, you will find someone who put together a sales pitch which motivated someone else to buy.  Now let’s revisit your golden nugget.

To simply have an awesome solution doesn’t by default mean that others will either know, or understand its value or worth.  Simply telling them about it is not always enough either.  The most valuable lesson a sales person or consultant can ever learn is how to get into their customer’s chair.  You must see the world from their perspective.  By sitting in their chair, you see problems and solutions from a totally different perspective.  Golden nuggets are only “golden” if seen from the customer’s chair.  So take a minute, and have a seat.